Gender is a complex topic.
There are scientific and social discussions to be had that can’t fit into one article.
What happens, though, when someone expresses disappointment in the gender you reveal for your child?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) _Elite2017_ when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for my response for my wife’s mom’s ‘gender disappointment?'”
OP began with a little backstory.
“A’right let’s get right to it.”
“My wife (female 33) and I (male 34) have 2 beautiful daughters, we’re currently expecting, and recently found out the gender of the baby.”
“It’s a girl.”
“No biggie, I love girls and I’m beyond happy and thrilled.”
“We visited my inlaws to make the announcement after dinner.”
“We were all seated at the table when my wife announced the gender of the baby.”
Everything was fine, until…
“My MIL looked disappointed and didn’t even try to hide it – that’s fine!”
“Gender disappointment or whatever they call it is fine.”
“People are entitled to feelings, you can’t control that, right?”
“(Shrugs) however, she gave me a look then flat out said “A girl? again… something seems off here, (turns to me) you know that men are responsible for the gender of the baby, right?”
“I replied with ‘so? you think I must be doing something wrong or something?’ she responded ‘no, but I’m just being honest here.'”
“I responded with ‘It’s fine really, they’re kids, why would their sex matter? I don’t plan on inbreeding them!”‘
“Suddenly everyone started laughing and MIL went completely quiet. She excused herself to the bathroom and stayed there for a while.”
“Dinner got awkward, like really really… I mean really awkward and we had to go home.”
“My wife started getting angry calls from her mom about me embarrassing and humiliating her with the ‘stupid joke’ I made at the dinner table.”
“She said I disrespected her in her own home. I told my wife that her mom was blatantly trying to blame me.”
“My wife said that technically her mom was right in that men are responsible about the gender of the baby.”
“I said so what, we learned this at school, why bring it up?”
“My wife suggested I apologize to her mom and she’ll talk to her but I refused.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Many commenters gave helpful hacks.
“Of course he can, if he wanted a boy he should have drank more beer, gotten into a fistfight to get the testosterone really flowing, and then hopped on his wife while holding her hair and singing yippee kay yay motherf*cker”
“The Y swimmers need to know he can be a manly man father” ~ MissNikitaDevan
“Oh and apparently it helps if you keep an axe under the bed. Or maybe these modern times some other suitable tool.” ~ VallisGratia
“While pulling the trigger 3 times in quick succession to ensure it sounds good, repeat every 30-45 seconds or as needed.” ~ zingshiny
Others pointed out how ridiculous MIL was being.
“It’s not like you can actually choose which one of your swimmers is the fastest…” ~
“Yes, it’s his sperm that determines the sex of the baby… But it’s obviously not a conscious choice that he’s making.”
“He’s not intentionally denying his MIL a grandson to be spiteful.”
“He isn’t going back on a promise to ‘choose’ a boy this time.”
“Blaming the dad for the gender of the baby is just as stupid as when they blamed the mom in the olden days.”
“My mother got that same attitude with my husband because our second son looks just like him.”
“Totally accusatory attitude that he looks like him and not me… as if he somehow made an intentional choice to selfishly have our son look like him and not me.”
“Like, ma’am, neither of us had any control over which genes our baby got.” ~ Wild_Statement_3142
“The female egg does actively choose which swimmer it wants in the end though. Still NTA though. Why be disappointed over a fact you have no control over” ~ SpoonWielder
Some responders came for education.
“For a long time ‘common knowledge’ was that the best swimmer (fastest / strongest) won the race.”
“Now, like many things, it is understood that it is quite a bit more complex and that the egg has an active role in picking. It’s not only a rude take but a wrong one too.” ~ ToThePastMe
“That’s simply amazing!”
“Shows that the whole idea of men deciding the sex of the child isn’t entirely true.”
“And therefore no need to blame men just as there was no need to blame women (as was done historically). Thanks for sharing!” ~ EmeraldBlueZen
“This was an interesting thing to learn! 👀”
“Another interesting fact! We usually speak about “swimmers” when talking about sperm cells but actually, it would be more accurate to say that they spin not swim.”
“Here is link to video where you can see it (With great music)”
“https://youtu.be/31PrHiPRdcE” ~ Former_Rough_7386
Of course, there were personal stories.
“My paternal grandparents didn’t speak to my parents for 3 years and 3 months when I was born a girl. Then my brother was born. What is wrong with these people?” ~ PreppyInPlaid
“Literally the only reason my grandmothers were excited about me being a girl is I was named after one and the other had someone to pass the birthstone jewelry to!”
“Though I’ll admit taking to my maternal cousins the boys are close to my grandmother and I’m closer to my grandfather.”
“Like she’s the one that ‘scares’ me and he’s the teddy bear and opposite for them.”
“But part of that is also personality, I think… He and I are very similar in a lot of ways.” ~ Different-Leather359
“That’s awful, I’m sorry.”
“My grandma was happy I was born bc I was the first girl since her.”
“And then my sister came along.”
“But now it’s the, ‘whose gonna pass on the family name?!”’
“So I guess not having a boy child is hitting her now.”
“Especially since I don’t want kids and my sister is in med school and has a way to go before she’s ready for that. I keep telling her to look at my uncle who doesn’t have kids 😆”
“Then she harps on my one male cousin to pass on the ‘family name.’ (Different than mine, but at least one will get passed on right?)” ~ thekelsey21
Commenters congratulated OP on his restraint.
“NTA and while I agree you shouldn’t disrespect people in their own home, I don’t agree that you should just take their disrespect like a punching bag.”
“She was being really ignorant.”
“Yes, men determine the sex of the baby, but not by choice.”
“Saying something must be wrong implies both blame on you and that there’s something wrong or disappointing about girls, her granddaughters. I’m surprised your wife isn’t bothered by that.” ~ Turbulent-Army2631
“You were handling her rudeness SO well, honestly I’m impressed.”
“You were nothing but understanding and trying to bring some levity into a discussion she herself was making awkward.”
“I wouldn’t apologize either.”
“She ruined a happy moment for her own selfishness, SHE should be the one apologizing.”
“Her daughter was announcing a pregnancy FFS!”
“Not the time to make it about her weird obsession with who/what is responsible for the sex of the baby, time to congratulate and celebrate! Congrats, btw.”
“And also, cmon MIL, gender is a binary, get with it. Maybe she’ll end up with a grandson after all!” ~
Some were just perplexed by the whole exchange.
“What’s the endgame with that comment?”
“You’ve given her two beautiful, healthy granddaughters, with a third on the way.”
“Are you supposed to give your wife a divorce/pass to find another man to hopefully give her a boy?” ~ ndcollector
“I’m also genuinely confused about where she was going with that.”
“I feel like she meant it as a slight, but didn’t want to put in the effort to actually form an insult from some useless bit of trivia.”
‘”I’m just being honest’ is a phrase used to defend insults. But, like… she didn’t even insult him? I feel like her lack of effort makes it even more insulting.”
“Also, chef’s kiss for the breeding comment, OP. I couldn’t have thought of that on the spot, but that was perfect!” ~ Willowed-Wisp
Some pointed out the bigger issue.
“Yeah, I’ve left several parenting groups because of ‘gender disappointment acceptance'”.
“It’s just gender essentialism tied up in a ‘I can’t help my feelings’ bow. People are absolutely responsible for controlling their own damage and not using their kids as wish fulfillment.” ~ socialistrock
“Let’s call it what it really is: misogyny” ~ Suitable-Cod-1381
“Absolutely, this is blatant sexism and should be excused less during these current times, not more.”
“I do not remember a time when I was not aware my father wanted a boy.”
“I’m the oldest of three girls and he openly talked about his disappointment in our gender since I was born, and it really messed with me.”
“It was blatant sexism, backed up by condemning me for doing or liking anything ‘for boys'”.
“I’m actually genderfluid, so it took years to separate out the expectations from birth and the intolerance of who I was to fully accept what I actually am.” ~ Lycoris
Gender is complicated.
What isn’t complicated is expressing love for a new life.
Whatever gender this child expresses – male, female, genderfluid, trans – the important component is the love and respect that they are shown.